7 December 2012

Sudan: SPLA Collect 12,000 Rifles in Jonglei

Bor — The head of the disarmament process in Jonglei, Lt. Gen. Kuol Diem Kuol said Friday that South Sudan's army is planning on taking the fight to rebels in Pibor County.

Lt. Gen. Kuol Deim Kuol, responsible for the Jonglei State disarmament campaign in his office in Bor, 31August 2012 (ST)

"Currrently, we are adapting aggressive defense, but in we will launch aggressive attacks", he said.

The rebellion based in Pibor County is led by David Yauyau, who rebelled against the government for the second time this year, after asking for leave to travel to Nairobi, Kenya.

Yauyau originally launch his rebellion against the government in 2010 after he failed to become a member of the state's parliament in the general elections.

South Sudan claims that Sudan is backing Yauyau's rebellion in order to destable the young nation after it seceded with 75% of the country's oil wealth 17 months ago. Khartoum denies have links to any rebels in South Sudan.

Kuol said that South Sudan's army - the SPLA - had found secret stores of weapons believed to have belonged to the late rebel leader, George Athor Deng, in Pigi and Fangak counties, through the help of the locals collaborating with the army.

Athor was killed in disputed circumstances in December 2011. Like, Yauyau, he also launched his rebellion as a consequence of the 2010 elections after he lost the gubernatorial face to the incumbent Kuol Manyang Juuk.

South Sudan's army has managed to collect 12,332 guns of different types, as well as shells and mines since the campaign began in March 12.

Addressing the Jonglei Commissioners' Forum in Bor, Kuol asked the county leaders to deploy their Police, Wildlife and Prison Services to help protect the communities who have been disarmed communities.

"I want the county commissioners to consider the effective deployment of other organised forces. Is it the responsibility of the SPLA alone to protect disarmed people?", he asked.

A total of 15,000 police and soldiers were deployed to Jonglei for the controversial campaign, which has been criticised by human rights groups and the United Nations. Last month a member of the UN Mission in South Sudan was forced to leave the country, apparantly because of an August human rights report about the treatment of civilians during the disarmament process.

The UN estimate that around 2,000 people have been killed in the past two years in violence between Jonglei's rival cattle raiding groups. The disarmament process was launched in reaction to a massive incursion of mainly Nuer armed men in Pibor County in retaliation to previous attacks.

The head of the disarmament process accused some members of the Murle youth of avoiding being disarmed. This was a cause of insecurity among the communities in Jonglei that had been disarmed, he said.

"It is the responsibility of the police supported by the SPLA. Please deploy the police effectively so that I move soldiers to go and fight the insurgency", he added.

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